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Safety and Health

Fact Sheet No. 5

September 2013

2013 American Welding Society

Electrical Hazards

INTRODUCTION
Electric shock from welding and cutting
equipment can result in death or severe
burns. Additionally, serious injury can
occur if the welder falls as a result of the
shock.

Do not touch live electrical parts.

Have all installation, operation,


maintenance, and repair work
performed only by qualified people.

All of the following are electrically


energized when the power is on: the
welding circuit (including the electrode and
workpiece), input power and machine
internal circuits, the wire, reel of wire, drive
rolls, and all other metal parts touching the
energized electrode. Additionally,
incorrectly installed or improperly grounded
equipment is a hazard.

Properly install and ground the


equipment in accordance with the
instruction manual and national, state,
and local codes.

Frequently inspect input power cord for


damage or bare wiring replace cord
immediately if damaged bare wiring
can kill.

HOW TO AVOID ELECTRIC SHOCKS

Do not work alone where there are


electrically hazardous conditions.

Wear dry, hole-free, insulating gloves in


good condition and protective clothing.
Do not touch the electrode with a bare
hand.

Insulate yourself from the workpiece


and ground using dry insulating mats or
covers big enough to prevent any
physical contact with the work or
ground, or wear properly designed and
approved rubber-soled boots in good
condition.

Use proper precautionary measures and


recommended safe practices at all times.
Train all personnel using welding and
cutting equipment to reduce the risk of
injuries, fatalities, and electrical accidents,
by following these instructions:

Read all instructions, labels, and


installation manuals before installing,
operating, or servicing the equipment.

Train all personnel involved in welding


operations to observe safe electrical
work practices according to OSHA
1910.332.

American Welding Society


8669 Doral Blvd.
Doral, Florida 33166
E-mail: info@aws.org
http://www.aws.org
Fact Sheet No. 5 09/13

AWS disclaims liability for any injury to persons or to property, or other damages of any nature
whatsoever, whether special, indirect, consequential or compensatory, directly or indirectly
resulting from the publication, use of, or reliance on this information. AWS also makes no
guaranty or warranty as to the accuracy or completeness of any information published herein.

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Use fully insulated electrode holders.


Never dip the holder into water to cool it
or lay it on conductive surfaces or the
work surface.

Do not touch electrode holders


connected to two welding machines at
the same time since double open-circuit
voltage can be present.

Do not allow the electrode holder or


electrode to come in contact with any
other person or any grounded object.

Do not use worn, damaged,


undersized, or poorly spliced cables,
welding gun cables, or torch cables.
Make sure all connections are tight,
clean, and dry.

Do not wrap cables carrying electric


current around any part of your body.

When required by ANSI Z49.1 or other


codes, ground the workpiece to a good
electrical earth ground. The work lead
is not a ground lead. Do not use the
work lead as a ground lead. Use a
separate connection to ground the
workpiece to earth.

Do not touch an energized electrode


while you are in contact with the work
circuit.

When using auxiliary power from welding


generators, it is recommended that you
use a circuit protected by a ground fault
circuit interrupter (GFCI) such as
receptacles in boxes, extension cords, and
the like. Use of an assured grounding
system is also acceptable and is equivalent
to use of a GFCI protected circuit. (see
AWS Safety and Health Fact Sheet No. 29,
Grounding of Portable and Vehicle
American Welding Society
8669 Doral Blvd.
Doral, Florida 33166
E-mail: info@aws.org
http://www.aws.org
Fact Sheet No .5 09/13

Mounted Welding Generators, for


information about assured grounding
systems).
Additional safety precautions are required
when welding is performed under any of
the following electrically hazardous
conditions: in damp locations or while
wearing wet clothing; on metal floors,
gratings, scaffolds, or other metal
structures; in cramped positions such as
sitting, kneeling, or lying; or when there is a
high risk of unavoidable or accidental
contact with the workpiece or ground.
Where these conditions are present, use
one of the following types of equipment
presented in order of preference: (1) a
semiautomatic DC constant voltage metal
electrode (wire) welder, (2) a DC manual
covered electrode (stick) welder, or (3) an
AC welder with reduced open-circuit
voltage. In most situations, use of a DC,
constant voltage wire welder is
recommended. And, do not work alone!

Wear a safety harness to prevent falling


if working above floor level.

Turn off all equipment when not in use.


Disconnect the power to equipment that
will be left unattended or out of service.

Disconnect the input power or stop the


engine before installing or servicing the
equipment. Lock the input disconnect
switch in the open (Off) position, or
remove the fuses, so that power cannot be
turned on accidentally. Follow
lockout/tagout procedures (see AWS
Safety and Health Fact Sheet No. 18,
Lockout/Tagout).

AWS disclaims liability for any injury to persons or to property, or other damages of any nature
whatsoever, whether special, indirect, consequential or compensatory, directly or indirectly
resulting from the publication, use of, or reliance on this information. AWS also makes no
guaranty or warranty as to the accuracy or completeness of any information published herein.

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Use only well maintained equipment.


Frequently inspect welding equipment
and repair or replace all damaged parts
before further use.

Keep all covers and panels securely in


place.

WEARERS OF PACEMAKERS
The technology of heart pacemakers and
other electronic devices changes
frequently and this may change the way
these devices are affected by other
electrical devices including welding
equipment. Wearers of pacemakers or
other electronic devices vital to life should
be instructed to check with their doctor and
with the device manufacturer to determine
if any hazard exists when near welding or
cutting operations. See AWS Fact Sheet
No. 16, Pacemakers and Welding, for
additional information about pacemakers
and welding.
PROCEDURES FOR ELECTRIC SHOCK

Turn off the electric power.

Use nonconducting material, such as


dry wood, to free the victim from
contact with live parts or wires.

If the victim is not breathing, call for


emergency services. Administer
cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
immediately after breaking contact with
the electrical source. Continue CPR
until breathing starts or until help
arrives.
Where an automatic electronic
defibrillator (AED) is available, use
according to instructions.

American Welding Society


8669 Doral Blvd.
Doral, Florida 33166
E-mail: info@aws.org
http://www.aws.org
Fact Sheet No .5 09/13

Treat an electrical burn as a thermal


burn by applying clean, cold (iced)
compresses. Prevent contamination,
and cover with a clean, dry dressing.

INFORMATION SOUCES
American National Standards Institute
(ANSI). Safety in Welding, Cutting, and
Allied Processes (ANSI Z49.1), published
by the American Welding Society, 8669
Doral Blvd., Doral, FL 33166; telephone
800-443-9353; Web site: www.aws.org.
Occupational Safety and Health
Administration (OSHA). Code of Federal
Regulations, Title 29 Labor, Parts 1910.1
to 1910.1450, available from the U.S.
Government Printing Office, 732 North
Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401;
telephone: 800-321-6742; Web site:
www.osha.gov
National Fire Protection Association
(NFPA). National Electric Code (NFPA
70), available from National Fire Protection
Association, 1 Batterymarch Park, Quincy,
MA 02269-9101; telephone: 800-3443555; Web site: www.nfpa.org.
National Fire Protection Association
(NFPA). Standard for Fire Prevention
During Welding, Cutting and Other Hot
Work (NFPA 51B), available from National
Fire Protection Association, 1
Batterymarch Park, Quincy, MA 022699101; telephone: 800-344-3555; Web site:
www.nfpa.org.
National Fire Protection Association
(NFPA). Standard for Electrical Safety
Requirements for Employee Workplaces

AWS disclaims liability for any injury to persons or to property, or other damages of any nature
whatsoever, whether special, indirect, consequential or compensatory, directly or indirectly
resulting from the publication, use of, or reliance on this information. AWS also makes no
guaranty or warranty as to the accuracy or completeness of any information published herein.

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(NFPA 70E), available from National Fire


Protection Association, 1 Batterymarch
Park, Quincy, MA 02269-9101; telephone:
800-344-3555; Web site: www.nfpa.org.
Mine Safety and Health Administration
(MSHA). Code of Federal Regulations
Title 30 Mineral Resources, Parts 1 to 199,
available from the U.S. Government
Printing Office, 732 North Capitol Street
NW, Washington, DC 20401; telephone:
202-693-9400; web site: www.msha.gov.
American Welding Society (AWS). Safety
and Health Fact Sheets, published by the
American Welding Society, 8669 Doral
Blvd., Doral, FL 33166; telephone 800-4439353; Web site: www.aws.org.

American Welding Society


8669 Doral Blvd.
Doral, Florida 33166
E-mail: info@aws.org
http://www.aws.org
Fact Sheet No .5 09/13

AWS disclaims liability for any injury to persons or to property, or other damages of any nature
whatsoever, whether special, indirect, consequential or compensatory, directly or indirectly
resulting from the publication, use of, or reliance on this information. AWS also makes no
guaranty or warranty as to the accuracy or completeness of any information published herein.

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